December 2019 Newsletter

Quick facts in case you’re new here (or your memory is as bad as mine): The working title of my memoir is Post-traumatic growth: A mom, her son, and the brain tumor they survived. The tagline: I couldn’t stand up for my son since I never learned to stand up for myself. I’m not proud of that truth, but I’m proud of telling the story. The main characters are me, my husband Michael, and my sons, Matt and Steve. Matt is the son with the brain tumor, diagnosed when he was 11. It was–is–inoperable, so he’ll have it forever, which I hope is a long, long time.
Memoir update
I took an online class in November on writing pitches and blurbs– paragraphs of various lengths describing a book–to entice an agent, publisher, or reader to want to know more. I also learned about loglines–one-sentence summaries of a book. And here I thought I had caught on to the jargon of writing! Now, I wonder what else I don’t know that I don’t know. Probably lots.

But it gives me confidence to have a selection of enticements to use in various situations. If I happen to step into an elevator with an editor from Simon & Schuster, I’m prepared!

In the midst of all this learning, I also created a new tagline– a catchphrase or slogan. (You may have been one of my followers who chimed in on your favorites. If so – thanks again!)  “People-pleasing is a liability when your child is sick.”
 Of all the choices I considered and posted to social media, this tagline was the most popular. I’ve displayed it on my (also newly updated!) website here.  
[If you’re an astute reader, you’ll see that I used a different tagline in my “quick facts,” above. We’ll see if either tagline lasts through the editorial process. An agent or publisher may have an entirely different idea. ] Now all the pieces are in place to query –to make a formal request for representation from literary agents. December is supposed to be a busy time for agents, and therefore a bad time to query. So I’ll enjoy the break. But come January, I’ll be rarin’ to go.

A totally useless and possibly embarrassing fact about me:
When I get together with my sister, Mary Beth, and we get silly…there’s no telling what may happen. To view our video rendition of “Mele Kalikimaka, the Hawaiian Christmas Song,” circa 2017– click here. Sorry, at this time we are not accepting orders on our custom outfits.
I was interviewed about my memoir for the podcast Midlife-A-Go-Go; it aired on October 16, 2019. You can listen here –you’ll hear aspects to my story you’ve not heard elsewhere. In January or February, you’ll be able to hear me on another podcast–Writing Class RadioI recorded an essay I wrote about being “stronger than the strong.”  Not sure what that means? Stay tuned!Also forthcoming in January, I’ll have an essay in AARP’s The Girlfriend newsletter.  Finally, I was asked to write a quarterly post as an emerging writer on the award-winning Writers in the Storm blog. I agreed! I’ve been receiving their informative and inspiring emails for a while, and I guess I wrote some halfway intelligent comments, as that’s how they “discovered” me. I’m already hard at work on my first post scheduled for January 6, 2020.
RIP, Mom.
Patricia S. Rampolla
March 3, 1933 — September 27, 2019

Golden Moments: the Silver Lining of Aging.

“When one person is missing the whole world seems empty.” 
― Pat Schweibert, Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss


  • Karen DeBonis

    Karen DeBonis writes about motherhood, people-pleasing, and personal growth, the entangled mix told in her memoir "Growth: A Mother, Her Son, and the Brain Tumor They Survived" forthcoming in spring 2023. Subscribe today to receive Chapter 1: A Reckoning.

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